White Academia ain’t shit.
I remember when I was a freshman at FDU a few years back. I was so proud of myself for getting into the honors program with my beast SAT scores. When I went to orientation, I saw that I was the ONLY Black person in the honors program. I was excited. This was my chance to excel. That was why I went to FDU anyway: I refused to go to a HBCU because I had to excel at a white college and show all the white people there that Black people COULD be smart.
Yeah, I was one of THOSE Black chicks.
Either way, one of the classes I took was about World Issues (it was part of a “core” program at FDU where you have to learn about issues affecting the world and society and whatnot). In that class, which was one of my few honors classes, I was, again, the only Black person. The only other PoC was an Egyptian boy (who was light skinned, so while he got things more than other people, he still fell prey to his light skinned privilege at times). And I never thought of myself as an outsider. Until one online assignment.
The assignment: imagine that you are the president of Uganda. You have been asked by a “Western” pharmaceutical company to have your people do a trial run with a drug that may lead to the cure for aids. The drug was deemed too dangerous to test in the Western nation and this is why they are asking you. You must give a speech to your people either allowing the experiments, or rejecting the offer. Give reasons, blah blah blah.
Out of a class of, what, 15-20 students, THE EGYPTIAN BOY AND I WERE THE ONLY ONES TO SAY “NO” TO THE EXPERIMENTS.
And at the time, I thought “hell yes, let’s do it!” Then I remembered that I was the president of Uganda. I wasn’t supposed to be some American miles away who wouldn’t see their own people dying if the drugs went horribly wrong. So I made my stance that no, we would not be used as lab rats so the Western nations can profit off of us.
We also had to comment on other people’s speeches, and this was where the bullshit began.
While the Egyptian boy and I held our grand, the excuses and reasons for why Uganda should do it was incredible.
“We have to do it for the greater good. This could help EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE.”
Then why couldn’t the Western company do it in their own country?
“Because it’s dangerous and people could die and that would cause a stir in the Western society.”
So why is it okay for all the Ugandan people to die?
“Omg, it’s not like we’re gonna FORCE them to use the drug. It will be a volunteer thing.”
So we have a nation where a lot of people have HIV/AIDS and may be the only people who can support their children and families, and you think they’re going to think they have CHOICE when they’re offered a “miracle drug” that they’re told can save them?
“BUT THEY’RE VOLUNTEERING. AND IT’S FOR THE GREATER GOOD. IF THEY DIE, THEY WOULDN’T DIE IN VAIN.” (Someone legit said that to me).
Oh really? Whose gonna pay for the Ugandan people to get the drug after it’s perfected? Those drugs cost a lot of money. Everyone in Western nations don’t have to worry about paying for it (of course, the wealthy people who can afford healthcare in the US, but it’s universal in all of Europe, so…), but Ugandans might not be able to afford it. Are you really suggesting that Ugandans sacrifice their lives for a drug they may not even be able to afford and have access to once the pharmaceutical company perfects it?
“IT’S FOR THE GREATER GOOD. SO EVERYONE EVERYWHERE CAN GET THIS DRUG.”
It was then that I realized how far the privilege ran. How these people could justify having a drug deemed too dangerous for their own people to take tested on Ugandans miles away. How they could justify it, care more about the “greater good” when they couldn’t sacrifice themselves for said cause, and how little they valued the lives of human beings in an African nation.
That happened towards the end of the first month at FDU. After that, I distance myself from the honors students, and didn’t trust any of the white, privileged snobs that went to that school. I made some friends who were more down to earth, of course. But It was at that moment when I realized just how fucked white academia was. How they have no problems being these “educated” elites until you ask them to give up some of their privileges for those without.
My professor from that same class discussed a theory in terms of poverty which said that those with don’t give enough to those without. That they’ll have three coats and only donate one coat, and it’s like, “what do you need two coats for? Give it to someone who needs it.” And my classmates’ responses were “but I worked hard to pay for the three coats, and if I want them, I should have them.” Never mind that you could be saving someone who is out on the streets and freezing half to death every night. Nope. You maintaining your status is more important. And that was a talk we had the first day of class.
White academics, particular those from wealth, don’t care about learning. Not REAL learning. They don’t grow from what they’re taught and take it and apply that. We can see that in how people here on tumblr will talk about having sociology degrees and still can’t understand that racism is prejudice + power. They just don’t get it. It’s not part of their world, and they can’t even try to understand it.
So it doesn’t surprise me that on a post that points to statistics and science that proves that Affirmative Action doesn’t give black/non-white students an advantage over white students, there is a white person in honors in their school saying it can’t be true. It doesn’t surprise me one bit.